The resurrection of STU’s dead clubs

Graph depicting the revival of some the St. Thomas University clubs that have been inactive for years. (Daniel Salas/AQ)

When entering the clubs and societies page of St. Thomas University, you are taken to a graveyard. From the now-defunct Magic The Gathering to Best Buddies, many of the clubs’ names pass as epitaphs, descriptions as headstones of clubs that no longer exist.

But in a list of dead clubs, some are aiming to revive the past joy. The Aquinian’s editor-in-chief, Giuliana Grillo de Lambarri, talked to two students who are taking that initiative.

Q&A goes M.I.A.

The last post of STU’s Queer and Ally Society on Instagram dates back to Oct. 26, 2022, calling for a meeting later that same month.

Cameron Rouse, a second-year English and Great Books student, said they saw the club listed on the website when they were applying to universities and wanted to join because they were an active member of their school’s Q&A.

However, once Rouse started at STU, former faculty advisor, Cristi Flood, informed them that the club no longer existed.

“I think at a time in history where LGBT rights are so endangered, it’s really important to have an outlet where students can have that space where they can just celebrate queer joy together,” they said.

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“I think it would be valuable to have a space where we can do one-to-one conversations … peer-support style.”

Rouse is currently in the process of bringing back the club, although it is challenging, saying there is a “bit of a snafu” to retrieve Q&A’s governing documents.

“It appeared that the documents have been misplaced, which is totally understandable,” they said. “I had to retrieve the former drafts for the constitution and governing documents.”

Four-leaf clover for the Irish Society

The Irish Society was one of the many clubs that did not survive the COVID-19 pandemic. But in this cemetery of dreams and passions, the society found a four-leaf clover when visiting professor for Irish studies Gearóid Ó Treasaigh suggested students revive it.

“He asked ‘Why is it not a thing anymore?’ so he did a lot of the work behind the scenes,” said the president of the Irish Society, Brie Sparks, noting Ó Treasaigh pitched it as a “cultural appreciation” club that could unite Fredericton’s large Irish population with the university.

Sparks said they took the role of president and formed an initial group with other students in Ó Treasaigh’s class to resurrect the Irish Society. While they think the club is currently very niche, Sparks aims to get more people involved.

“The biggest problem trying to revive a society yourself is just getting people to know that you’re a thing and that you are open to everyone,” they said. “There’s a lot of confusion there, too. It’s like, ‘Oh, I don’t speak Irish or I’m not taking the class, I can’t do it.'”

Sparks added the society will have its very first event on Valentine’s Day and it is open to all students, regardless of whether they have an Irish background, speak the language or take the courses. They aspire to organize more events to promote and appreciate Irish culture.

“We’re trying to do as many events as possible to kind of break down those barriers.”